How to grow a creative company
Fariz Hanapiah,Co-Founder and Creative Director of Motiofixo, has always had a knack for computers. At 13, while kids his age were engrossed in video games, Fariz was busy teaching himself coding and computer graphics to build his own soccer website. News about ‘Malaysian Soccer Online’ spread Fariz received a prize from the Prime Minister for the website.
What it takes: Passion, Persistence and Positivity
Even as a college student, Fariz frequently accepted freelance jobs that nurtured his computer skills. He started off freelancing with his friends Shamsul Nashriq and Idril Mihat. His creative flair and entrepreneurship was evident in a consistent flow of freelance work. In the beginning, the team focused on creating music videos for local Malaysian bands; believing that this was one of the more flexible platforms to express their creative ideas. “We were known for our passionate interest in creating music videos and we still are,” says Fariz.
“We were known for our passionate interest in creating music videos and we still are.”
Upon graduation, Fariz, Shamsul and Idril’s team Motiofixo, was adopted into the Malaysia Super Corridor (MSC) Central Incubator where they developed government and corporate projects and service brand strategy. They also developed marketing collaterals such as corporate videos and posters designs.
Moving up the creative food chain
Establishing a niche product early in their career, Motiofixo started to refine their skills in of motion and information graphics. “Video design has always been Motiofixo’s main forte and we are known in our expertise for translating text into visual communication.” Fariz explains.
To be able to serve bigger clients, Motiofixo moved from Cyberjaya to an office in the nation’s capital. Here they found more international clients with larger budgets.
Creating opportunities to showcase own talents
At the same time, they felt it was high time they moved up the creative agency food chain. They needed to make their mark as a competitive creative agency and embarked on a self-initiated campaign called #havefaithmalaysia. The campaign’s mission was to promote positivity among Malaysians while also providing an opportunity for Motiofixo a chance to showcase their creativity on all communication platforms. This strategy provided a 360-degree exposure of Motiofixo’s artistic strength and successfully helped them land clients such as Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance and Khazanah Nasional Berhad.
The company had to grow quickly to keep up with the demand they themselves had created.
Within a span of three years, Motiofixo grew from a team of six to a company of 36.
The risk of growing too fast too soon
Fariz admits that while it was a good that Motiofixo could now compete with big agencies, the company’s rapid growth resulted in communication breakdown amongst the team members. The situation became so critical that they sought an expert’s advice to diagnose and advise them on better ways to communicate within a large company. “Group chemistry and feeling like a family is important to our creative process. Unfortunately, we lost some of that when we expanded too quickly.”
Motiofixo has since moved to an office in Petaling Jaya, to start what Fariz hopes will be a new chapter for him and his co-founders. He acknowledges that his co-director role is more about maintaining the well-being of his team and delegating creative work to his artistic director.
Despite the hard knocks of the business world, Fariz is still an artist at heart. He established Motiofixo Visuals to explore immersive experimental design and visual technology as a way of deepening his artistic interests and develop a new niche for the company. With a clear artistic vision, Motiofixo is set to lead the next generation of advertising artists for the new media.
Learn from the man himself
In his half-day workshop From Freelance to a Company on 7 January 2017, Fariz will share with you
- What it takes to move from freelance to a company
- How to balance creativity and business
- The challenges of scaling up a company
- How to manage creative people
- What to look out for when building up a creative team
A second workshop Building a Global Digital Content from Malaysia: Structure, Funding and Culture (find out more about that in Why performing artists should care about Malaysia’s digital media industry, special funding and IP protection) will be held on the same day and we’re offering a discount to people who attend both sessions. You will also gain something far more valuable. At the end of the day you will leave with a better understand of Malaysia’s creative digital ecosystem and how your creations can benefit creatively and financially from this fast growing industry.
Suzy Sulaiman has two babies; one is the Digital Art + Culture Festival and the other is a human child named Teja.